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India spent over USD one bn to upgrade railway sector here – Indian HC Colombo

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Indian HC Jha lighting the traditional oil lamp while Minister Gunawardena and State Minister Bandara look on (pic courtesy IHC)

The Indian High Commission on Sunday (07) declared that in spite of the debt repayment suspension announced by Sri Lanka in April 2022, the Modi government continued to extend assistance to the southern neighbour under various Lines of Credit (LOCs).

In September 2023, the Ministry of Transport and Highways of Sri Lanka and IRCON International signed a new Contract for design, installation, testing, and commissioning of a Signalling system for Sri Lanka Railways, from Maho to Anuradhapura, at a cost of USD 14.90 million under an Indian LOC, the HC stated.

The following is the text of a statement issued by the HC after Transport and Highways Minister Bandula Gunawardena and High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Santosh Jha on Sunday ceremonially launched track rehabilitation work at Galgamuwa Railway Station commencing upgrading of the Railway Line including ancillary works from Maho to Anuradhapura, the second phase of a Line of Credit project for track rehabilitation from Maho- Omanthai (128Km) being undertaken by an Indian Public Sector company, IRCON, under an Indian Line of Credit (LOC) of USD 318 million.

The cost of the entire project is USD 91.27 million of which the 2nd phase of rehabilitation from Maho-Anuradhapura is scheduled to be completed in a period of six months. Hon. State Minister of Mass Media Shantha Bandara and senior officials from the Sri Lankan Ministry of Transport were also present at the event.”

The statement quoted the Minister of Transport as having thanked India for the support extended to Sri Lanka, especially in the transport sector. Appreciating the work carried out by IRCON in Sri Lanka in the past few years, he called for greater Railway cooperation between the two countries.

The High Commissioner expressed happiness that as a long-standing development partner of Sri Lanka, India had executed projects for development and rehabilitation of Sri Lanka’s Northern and Southern Railway line over the past several years, in line with the priorities and requirements of the Government of Sri Lanka. He underscored the importance of modernization of Railways in enhancing mobility of goods and services in Sri Lanka thereby boosting economic activity.

“Railways has been one of the priority sectors for Government of India’s assistance to Sri Lanka. Till date, India has executed projects of over USD 1 billion in the Railways sector under 5 Indian LOCs. India’s public sector company, IRCON, started its operations in Sri Lanka in March 2009 and has contributed towards modernization of Sri Lanka Railways by reconstructing the entire railway line network in Northern Province (253 Km) and upgradation of Southern line (115 km). It has also contributed to ensuring safety and reliability through a modern signaling & telecommunication system on 330 km stretch of Railway line.”

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